Yes, I realize we are more than half way through January! I guess it isn’t “cool” to say Happy New Year at this stage in the game.

This is the first time I have actually sat down at the computer to write a blog post all year. I’ve been thinking about doing it. For some reason it just has not happened.  I just have not been able to get in the groove.

I have enjoyed everyone else’s posts about how they are cutting back on their social media time, mostly Facebook and Twitter. I have seen all the obligatory “Best of 2013” posts. I have heard about your goals and resolutions for 2014. All the while, I have written nothing! I have made new recipes, taken pictures, even loaded the pictures! Still nothing.

You know blogging is a funny thing. When it was new, everyone was excited to just share. Now, like anything, folks have discovered there is money to be made in the blog world. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with people making money off of their blogs. It is, however, a different approach to blogging.

In my “time off” I have been considering why I blog anyway. To start with, it wasn’t even my idea! My husband talked me into it to share recipes and such. While that is what I do here, I wanted, and still want, more. I want that COMMUNITY feeling. I don’t want the sharing to be a one-way street.

I really like Pinterest. Ironically, most of my traffic comes from Pinterest. I have read recently that it is not as “shiny and new” for some bloggers. I still like it! For one thing, I can see people whose tastes are similar to mine. However, if I am in “Pinterest Mode” I am bad about just pinning something to my board and not leaving a comment for the blogger. I do try to go back and leave a comment once I have tried their recipe, project or whatever.

I’m not very good at Facebook and Twitter, especially Twitter.

Mentally, I am still back in the fall. Did the holidays ZOOM by as fast for y’all? I suppose I have just been in a rut. Well, here at Pork Chop Tuesday we are all about rut-bustin’!

I think this is the most I have written in a blog post without adding a picture. Weird.

I realize I rambled a bit here today. That is just where I am. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, maybe I will be able to actually do some “normal” blogging.

Obligatory Most Popular Post of 2013 (click for link):

Amazing Banana Pudding

WomenBlogger-Main

I have tried for two days to figure out exactly how to recap all the greatness from the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged conference this past weekend.  There is just so much information rolling around in my brain! I suppose I’ll have to break it into multiple posts.

First, let me tell you how I even found Arkansas Women Bloggers. A little over a year ago, as I would surf from blog to blog, I noticed many of my favorites were from Indiana, where we used to live! I saw that these bloggers were not just virtual friends but friends in real life as well.  I thought, “I wish there were some bloggers in ARKANSAS!” That day I did a search for Arkansas Women Bloggers not really expecting much. I thought I might hit on a couple of blogs where folks talked about Arkansas. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a whole network of women!

It was free, so I joined. I had just missed the group’s “Unplugged” conference in Mountain Home, AR. They were, however, going to have a blogger meet-up in Little Rock. I went to that and met some nice folks. I even blogged about it here.

Over the next year, I participated in link-up parties sponsored by ARWB as well as some of the blogging challenges. I was getting to know some of these ladies-virtually. This past weekend was the time to get to know them in real-life!

Pennant

I have to admit I was a bit nervous. I was going to a conference with 100 women and I knew zero. Once I arrived, I realized I did know some people after all. I saw some of my virtual friends and some of the ladies I had met at the Little Rock meet-up! They were all so nice and genuinely glad to see me. I even ran into some gals I had known for a minute in college as well as a lady from the church where I grew up.

Our conference was at the lovely Ferncliff Camp & Conference Center. Just being there with the trees and lake was calming in itself.

Ferncliff cross by the lake

The sessions were great. Our keynote speaker was Sophie Hudson from Boo Mama. She was a hoot! Thank you Petit Jean Meats for bringing her to the conference for us!

Boo Mama

There were lots of practical tips and advice on blogging. However, the overriding message was BE AUTHENTIC. “Don’t settle for being an imitation of someone else, ” Sophie told us.

Too often we compare our “insides” with the “outsides” of what we see on the internet.

I couldn’t help by think of a verse my friend Ginger W. had our Sunday School ladies’ group memorize more than 20 years ago.

2 Corinthians 10-12

I was very happy to get to know some of these ladies in real-life. This is truly an AUTHENTIC group of women. It starts with the leadership, though. Stephanie Buckley, the founder of ARWB, is the real deal.

Stephanie

Thank you Stephanie, and all her helpers, for a fantastic weekend.

Stay tuned for more posts about the conference.

Well, I did it. I made it through my first year as a blogger!

I have learned quite a lot by being in the blogging community.

I’ve learned to be a little less fearful of technology.

I’ve learned how to use our camera better.

I’ve learned that some recipes are yucky! However, sometimes that is no fault of the recipe.

I’ve learned that it can be time-consuming to post when lots of pictures are involved.

I’ve learned that there are good days and bad days—at least as far as stats go. I really have tried to not obsess about the numbers. If you are a blogger, I’m sure you have had those sad moments when 2 people visit your site. But, I try not to obsess about the numbers. (As of this moment I have had exactly 10,000 views, 203 comments, and 25 subscribers. But they are just numbers.)

I’ve learned that if there is a blog I enjoy following, a subscription and occasional comment are appreciated.

I’ve learned that the blogging world is HUGE!

Here are some of the highlights..

My most popular posts seem to have been when I copied something off of someone else. Here is the little pom-pom necklace I copied from Little Miss Momma.

Pom Pom Necklace

Maybe you remember the Cat in the Hat treats very similar to the ones from Dollhouse Bake Shoppe.

Dr. Seuss Snacks

Lots of folks have checked out the Tie Dyed Fingernails post where I tried Victoria’s Rainbow Water Marbling technique.

Apple Straws and Trop 50 Review always get a few inquiring minds.

Then of course there is the Impressionist series. How could you forget that?! Can you believe I still have one more post to go up in that series?!

The Impressionists Part I

Pork Chop Tuesday readers really seem to enjoy the Critics’ Corner.

The Critics

I thought I’d let them add their favorite dishes from the blog thus far.

Chip: Dave Ramsey won’t let me buy tortillas

Megan: Chicken & Broccoli Braid and Snow Cream


Katie: Dago’s Delight and Snow Cream

One of my favorites had to be the Never Again Cookies. They were just so yummy, especially after all that hard work.

I hope you have enjoyed Pork Chop Tuesday in her infancy. It has been a lot of fun. Who knows what will show up in 2012—hopefully YOU!

Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite post has been. Did you try some of the recipes? Pin them in Pinterest?

Did you miss some of the posts along the way? Be sure to go to “The Critics” page and “This and That”.

Thanks for reading my little blog. Tell your friends!